Welcome readers to todays offering from The Philatelist. So slip on your smoking jacket, fill your pipe, take your first sip of your adult beverage, and sit back in your most comfortable chair. We have an interesting story to tell of a great airplane whose stamp is tainted by defeat.
The stamp today has a fairly normal picture for an early years airmail stamp from anywhere. It shows a big 4 propeller airliner flying over an airport. When put into context, it is possible to see what a desperate and defeated image it really is. The plane is a German Condor airliner that captured the worlds imagination with the first direct flight from Berlin to New York and regular service to Argentina and Japan, both of which required several stops. It was the most advanced airliner in the world when it was introduced in 1938. By late 1944 when this stamp was issued, the war for Germany was soon lost.
One can see the desperation on the stamp. Germany instead of being referred to Deutches Reich, German Empire, as was common into the war years, it was now GrossDeutches Reich, greater German Empire. By then the area controlled by Germany was shrinking fast. The denomination on the stamp is increased by 66% as a mandatory contribution to the war effort. It is easy to spot the symbolism of a famous, long range airliner taking off toward a break in the storm clouds to lift you away to some far off place, untouched by war.
The stamp today was issued in 1944 by the German Nazi government. It is an airmail stamp that commemorates the 25th anniversary of the German postal Air mail service, which started in 1919. The Scott catalog lacks listings for many of Germany’s later war years stamps. Most of the copies that are still around are mint. A good number were liberated at wars end and found there way into stamp collections having never been mailed.
The plane on the stamp is a Focke-Wulf FW200A Condor airliner. It flew at a speed of 220 mph and had a range of 2200 miles. It was designed by famed aircraft designer Kurt Tank. It was built from 1938-1944 and prewar a few entered service with Lufthansa in Germany and with Denmark and Brazil. The Japanese suggested a maritime patrol bomber version and also ordered airliners but these were kept in Germany at the outbreak of WWII. The armed version was used to good effect early in the Battle of the Atlantic until it was realized they were too valuable to risk having them shot down. After that they were regulated to transport duty including as Hitler’s personal transport and the airlift to Stalingrad. The last Condor flight to Portugal from Berlin happened in April 1945 just days before Berlin fell to the Russians.
Post war. no new Condors were produced although a few stayed in service in Spain, Brazil, and the Soviet Union. There is only one example of the Condor still in existence. The Lufthansa museum in Germany has an example pieced together from two examples that had crashed in Norway during the war. Norway had been reluctant to allow pieces of one of the planes to go back to Germany as they were using the wreckage as a war memorial. It was finally agreed to allow a minimum of parts to be taken to get one complete example of this historic airplane.
Well, my drink is empty so it is time to open up the conversation in the below comment section. Come again tomorrow for another story that can be learned from stamp collecting.